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Seduction of the Innocent


Published 1966 circa


Sid's remake of The Terrible Truth is, in many ways, superior to it, if only because by the mid-sixties there were a lot more ways for kids to get themselves into trouble.

This is a warning about the path of casual drug usage leading to "the point of no return" and the user being permanently lost to society. Jeanette is introduced to drugs through her new boyfriend and casually pops pills for the first time. However, she rapidly progresses into more extreme forms of drug usage, smoking marijuana and shooting heroin. In order to support their habits Jeanette and her boyfriend begin to steal and her boyfriend is arrested. Left alone with her expensive drug habit, Jeanette turns to prostitution and is arrested, only to suffer in jail and land back on the streets with the same addictions until she dies.

A matter-of-fact detective/officer narrates:
"This is America in the second half of the twentieth century and Jeanette is a slave. Not a slave by circumstance of birth or force but by choice. A choice she made herself not so very long ago, a choice that at the time probably seemed no bigger than, 'should I belong or shouldn't I?'
The pace of modern teen-age society is often fast. The beat is sometimes frantic. Cultures and backgrounds have been mixed. The need to belong is ever present."

The camera zooms slowly in through the bars of a jail cell on a face of a young woman, writhing in agony.
A teenage pool party
Four teenagers riding in a convertible, popping pills, snapping their fingers to the music.
Close-up of a hand full of pills.
Close-up of a hand with pills and many other hands reaching in, some with quarters.
Teen-age couple climbing up a hillside to a car.
Teen-age boy pulls something out of his sock.
Young man lights a joint in a car.
Close-up of a young woman puffs on a joint and makes a disgusted look.
A distant shot of a road by the ocean -- very rapid zoom in.
Young woman rolling her head around on the seat of a car, her eyes closed.
"Father" scolding, shaking his finger.
Teen-age girl falls on her bed, crying.
A shaky camera shot slowly moving up a staircase to a door.
A shaky camera moves closer in on a man seated at a table, smoking the roach of a joint
Close-up of a man sliding the tray of a birdcage out, lifting up the newspaper liner and pulling out a tiny plastic bag of white powder.
Teen-age girl grabs onto young man's shoulder
Close-up of powder in a spoon, being heated with a flame
Close-up of man's face, dramatically lit -- moves into camera until out of focus
Man giving teen-age girl hypodermic needle to hold and ties a rope around guy's arm
Shot through a birdcage, of teen-agers exchanging money with man
Teen-age girl stealing a bag through a car window
Teen-age boy stealing from beach items
Teen-age boy stealing hubcap
Teen-age boy reaches in a car window and takes something from a car
Young woman in bed, blowing her nose -- tossing and turning
Teen-age girl in a car, young man being arrested in the distance
A finger scrolling through classified listings
A teen-age girl curling her eyelashes in a bathroom mirror
Teen-age girl dressed up, embracing a man
Teen-age girl, looking scraggly, shuffling down the sidewalk
Teen-age girl, playing with the beads around her neck, walking up to a man in a doorway

SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT tells the tragic tale of teenage drug addiction with aharsh study of one Jeanette, who, in the words of the narrator, is "a slave...a slave by choice." Jeanette starts out in the story as a happy, pretty, middle-class teenaged girl whose friends like to live a little bit dangerously. But in her confused desire to belong, she allows herself first to share a marijuana cigarette with them, and then spirals into a haze of popping pills, and eventually, with growing fears of apprehension & guilt, shooting heroin, which is, as the narrator warns, the beginning of the end for Jeanette.

This stark and scary film decribes what it feels like for Jeanette to be addicted to heroin, confronts "the temporary or prolonged good" feelings that slide along with the agony of withdrawal, and catalogues the user's shocking descent into petty crime, prostitution, imprisonment and an untimely death.


Filmed in the glaring black & white of many fifties horror films, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT is uncompromising in its intent to sway youngsters from a life of drugs, and unapologetic in its graphic seediness.


Producer Davis (Sid) Productions
Audio/Visual sound, color

Credits

Produced with the cooperation of the Santa Monica Police Department and the Santa Monica Unified School District.

Reviews

Reviewer: Spuzz - - July 9, 2012
Subject: The drug riddled teens of Inglewood
More fun than usual from Sid Davis, as a portrait of a teenage drug addict is featured. The narrator, who is familiar to these films, is going on a mile a minute in this one, Plenty of information is shirked out in this story of a teenage girl going down that slippery slope. First it's pills, then marijuana, and then yes, heroin. Actually, I was surprised at the order of bad drugs this took. I think it SHOULD have been Marijuana, pills, and then heroin. But what do I now? Anyways, this is not bad, it's not something you've never seen before, but enjoyable nevertheless.
Reviewer: Psy-Fi - - April 11, 2012
Subject: Pills lead to pot?
Marijuana is often referred to as a so-called "gateway drug" leading to harder drugs, but in this film, pharmaceutical pills are the "gateway drug" leading to harder drugs (marijuana, in this case.)
And it's downhill from there, with heroin being next on the list and then (if you're female) prostitution!
Classic Sid Davis film with ominous narration throughout.

MPEG4 downloadable version had serious flaws in the soundtrack (besides the ones that can't be fixed) but the streaming/player version worked fine.
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